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South Korea seriously harmed by Iran sanctions: Envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
South Korea’s ambassador to Iran Yun Kang-hyeon is seen in this photo while speaking in an interview with Iran’s ILNA news agency.

South Korea’s ambassador to Iran says the country has suffered badly from more than three years of US sanctions on Iran as he insists that Seoul has been working hard to maintain its trade and energy ties with Iran despite excessive US pressure.

Yun Kang-hyeon said in remarks published on Monday that South Korean petrochemical sector had been badly affected by Washington’s 2018 decision to impose sanctions on Tehran which came after a former US government pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Yun told the ILNA news agency in an interview that South Korean petroleum industries had been heavily reliant on Iranian oil supplies before the sanctions were imposed mainly because of the special grade of the Iranian crude which he said is preferable for those industries.

"We hope that problems can be solved soon so that we can resume importing our oil needs from Iran and this will be good for everyone," said the ambassador, according to the Farsi translation of his remarks.

South Korea is waiting for the outcome of ongoing talks between Iran and world powers on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal so that it can return more than $7 billion in Iranian funds blocked in the country because of US sanctions.

The issue of blocked funds has caused dissatisfaction in Iran as authorities have even warned that Tehran may reconsider all its energy and trade ties with Seoul if the funds are not repatriated in due course.  

Yun said, however, that South Korean has been forced to comply with US sanctions on Iran against its own will, adding that Seoul still continues to view Iran as its most important partner in the Middle East region.

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